At first glance, the superficial observer is likely to think that Hygienic means are too few in number, that a thing as complex as life and the seemingly more complex thing called disease, will certainly require a greater array of materials and "remedies" than are contained in our Materia Hygienica. This is both a superficial and a mistaken view. The elements of the Materia Hygienica are the same in kind and number as the means by which nature has provided for the growth, development, maintenance and reproduction of man and for the preservation of health.
Of means whereby health may be restored there are as many and they are as varied as are the means at man's disposal for the preservation of health. It is enough that the Art Restorative should be coextensive with the means--both as regards means and extent--with the Art Preservative; for, scientifically regarded, they are identical. Several materials, conditions, forces and elements are involved in establishing and maintaining the conditions necessary to health; but each and all are subject to the regular laws of nature. We cannot hope to restore health by violating these laws or by violating the conditions of health.
Can we doubt the fullness and adequacy of nature's provisions? Not unless we are prepared to impeach the whole reign of law and order and to cast suspicions upon the whole natural order. But a glance is required to reveal that ample means are provided by nature for producing and perpetuating human life, not human life in some feeble and inadequate form, but in its fullness and strength. The very fact that man exists and has long existed and increased under all the disadvantages to which he has subjected himself, testifies to the abundance and minuteness of the means of sustaining him in the highest health.
Are these means of life sufficient to the work of restoration when health has been lost? It is commonly assumed that they are not. It is assumed that the sick need foreign and adventitious substances that have no normal relation to life, that are not required in a state of health, and that are, as a rule, inimical to health, if health is to be restored. Instead of trusting to the laws of being and relying upon the adequacies of the normal means of life, that provide for development and restoration, it is customary to resort to expedients--things, means, plans, purposes, that are outside and independent of the means that provide for a normal development and preservation and that violate the laws of man's being. The sick organism is frequently denied many of the very elements by which living organisms sustain themselves and by which they grow and develop, and attempts are made to build and maintain health and strength with means that are too well known to make the human organism sick. Our common means of caring for the sick are at war with nature. Man is at war with nature in both his mode of living and in his way of caring for the sick.
Materials and influences, to be used by the sick organism in the restoration of health, must be such as normally sustain a life-giving instead of a death-dealing relation to the body. The fitness of any substance for use in caring for the sick must be determined by its usefulness to the healthy. Whatever is acceptable to the healthy organism, whatever it can use in the production and maintenance of structure and conduct of function is Hygienic and is usable by the sick.
Of means whereby the sick may be adequately cared for, these are as many and as varied as are those at man's command for the preservation of health. It is the Hygienic position that these are all-sufficient for the restoration as for the preservation of health. The means of restoring health are co-extensive--both as regards kind and extent--with the means of preserving it. The two groups of means and measures are one and identical. Health is restored by the same means by which it is pre served. As a living organism cannot use in a state of sickness what it cannot use in a state of health, there can be no other means of restoring health.
We see, therefore, that the elements of Hygiene answer the demands of health and the requirements of disease, according as they are applied or used. Their use in health is determined by nature alone; in our care of the sick, their use is left to the discriminating skill of man.
Most people's prejudices against the Hygienic System arise out of the very simplicity of its means and methods. So long have we been educated to belittle and deprecate the simple health requirements of nature and to rely upon the mysterious and incomprehensible and to misunderstand the nature of disease and to grossly overrate the danger of certain conditions, that we find ourselves entirely unable to appreciate the adequacy of the means employed in Hygienic practice to the accomplishment of the ends sought.
We are frequently asked: where are our experiments? Do we need experiments to prove that man cannot live without air? Are we called upon to prove that fresh air is better than foul? Must we show experimentally that rest and sleep are nature's processes of recuperation? Must we demonstrate the value of cleanliness? Are experiments needed today to convince us that violent emotions are ruinous? Have we so far forgotten the benefits of exercise that we need them demonstrated to us in the laboratory? After all the experiments that have been performed, that confirmed the experiences that processed and refined foods are inadequate to meet man's nutritive needs, do we need more experiments to demonstrate this fact all over again? Can we not accept the very means by which we live without having to have their value demonstrated in the laboratory?
The medical profession, through every means at its command, has long taught people to poison themselves with deadly drugs whenever they were ill. They have long, too long, taught the doctrine of casting out devils through Beelzebub. In the days of our ignorance this may have been permissible. But now light has come into the world. A new dispensation has dawned.
Evil must be overcome with good. Disease must be limited by supplying the conditions of health, not by producing new diseases. The medical profession no longer serves any possible end. The eyes of the people are being opened to the hard consequences of medicine's false philosophy and fatal practices. The profession, its philosophy and its practices should pass and be forgotten.
The value of remedial measures in the philosophy of care by Hygienic means can be understood only by a distinct recognition of those conditions of body denominated health and disease and by the means by which these conditions are developed and maintained. So intrinsically superior is the Hygienic way of caring for the human organism to any other system ever offered to man or practiced by him that nothing is needed to commend it to the general judgment and acceptance of man but a full understanding of it.